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Cleaning Resolutions for the New Year

If left to pile up, cleaning tasks can be overwhelming.  So the American Cleaning Institute shares some great ways to make cleaning at home and at work easier tin the New Year. 
 
At Home
 
1.       Manage the Mail.  Even in our e-mail age, most people still get plenty of snail mail.  Open it over a wastebasket or recycle bin so that anything unwanted quickly disappears.

2.      Roll back the bed.  Replace fussy bedspreads with a duvet and duvet cover.  The duvet itself makes bed-making easier.  For cleaning, just pop off the cover and launder.  It’s faster and easier than washing a bulky comforter.

3.      “Sweep” the house nightly.  Just before bedtime, do a walk-through.  Put newspapers in the recycle bin, toss out the junk mail, put dishes in the dishwasher, hang up coats, sweaters, towels, etc. and put away anything that wandered out during the day.

4.      Remove shower scum as you go.  A daily shower cleaner will keep shower and tub surfaces free of soap scum, mildew stains, and hard-water deposits.  Enlist everyone in the household to mist the surfaces immediately after they shower, while the walls are still wet and warm.

5.      Double up. A full set of cleaning supplies on each floor of the home keeps them in easy reach of spot cleaning.

6.      Baskets for all.  Be sure there’s a wastebasket in every room.  Empty them as part of your nightly sweep.

7.      Tote ‘em.  Keep cleaning supplies in a plastic carry caddy so they’re easy to tote from room to room.

8.      Invest in some baskets.  Baskets in varying sizes are great repositories for toys, magazines, keys, remote controls, unopened mail, and other everyday items that tend to take over countertops and tabletops.

9.      Vacuum on the run.  A small, hand-held cordless vacuum makes quick pick up a snap.  Consider multiples – one in the basement, one in the garage, one on each floor in the house.
 
At Work
 
Unclutter that desk!  Before you begin, assemble a few boxes, some trash bags, and a magic marker.  Label the boxes “Immediate” (as in Immediate Attention Required), “Not Sure,” “Read,” “File,” “Recycle,” and “Shred.”  Now you’re ready to attack that desk.
 
1.      Sweep clean.  The first order of business is to get everything off the top of the desk that doesn’t have anything to do with your desk’s basic purpose.  Drink cups, food items, paper napkins, and the like should go in the sink or in the trash.  Remove framed pictures and other personal mementos, as well as pencil holders, tape dispensers, staplers and other pieces of equipment that littler your desk.  Set them aside for later evaluation.

2.      Set aside.  Magazines, journals, newspapers, periodicals, and catalogs take up valuable space on your desktop.  Move them to the “Read” box and deal with them during a separate organizing session or put them in the ‘recycle’ box.

3.      Sort.  As you remove the rest of the items from the top of your desk, deposit them in the appropriate box or trash bag.

4.      Shred.  If you have a shredder, use it as you sort to discard papers that contain personal information or anything that would be valuable to an identity  thief.  If you don’t own a shredder, put them in the ‘shred’ box and make it a priority to have them thoroughly destroyed. 

5.      Review.  Go back to that ‘Not Sure’ box.  Now that you’ve gone through everything on your desk, you should have a better handle on priorities.  Reevaluate what’s in this box so that when you’re done, the box is empty.

6.      File.  Everything in the ‘File” box should be put in labeled folders and stored in a file drawer.

7.      Clean.  Make sure the top of the desk is thoroughly clean before you put anything back on it.  Since there are probably drink and food stains lurking amidst the dust, use an all-purpose cleaner with a disinfectant.

8.      Organize.  The ‘Immediate’ box should contain items that you’re currently working on.  Think about the best way to have them handy on the top of your desk.  You may need to invest in a desktop storage tower or tabletop file for easy access.

9.      Evaluate.  Take a look at the personal items.  Do you really need all those photos and mementos cluttering the top of your desk?  Could you hang them on the wall or sit them on a shelf for display instead?  Then take a look at the equipment.  Is it just a habit to keep the tape dispenser on your desk or do you really use it every day?  Would it be better to keep some of these items handy in a drawer?

10. Reform.  Set aside a few minutes at the end of the day to tidy up your desk.

Happy New Year from all of us at USU Extension in Juab County! 

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